A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


II. Summary

1. In 6 main commodities investigated, it was found that there were sharp differences in attitude among housewives towards the different commodities.

Paper, food-waste and metal were collected by more than 70%.

Rags and rubber by less than 10%: Bones take a middle place.

An analysis of salvage campaigns showed that the importance of first three commodities had been emphasized, whereas the importance of the last three had been rather neglected. From this it may be assumed that “salvage consciousness” has been aroused for paper, food-waste and metal, but not for rags and rubber.

It must be pointed out that the national campaigns influenced not only housewives but salvage officials, whose campaigns in turn concentrated on the first three commodities.

2. The investigation revealed no differences in attitudes to salvage collection between housewives of different ages.

3. Differences were found in the regularity with which housewives in the different social groups collected different commodities:

The upper income groups collected paper, rags and rubber more regularly than the lower income groups. This was found to relate to the different amounts of these commodities which the different income groups had available; but not to attitudes towards salvage in general.

4. There were no local differences in attitude towards salvage collection; but there were marked differences in the actual collection. This was found to relate to local differences in the organisation of collection.

5. Local organisation revolves round the local salvage officials; among them there are great differences in attitude towards the problems involved in collection. The main difficulties, as seen by the salvage officials, are:-

  1. (i) The predominant importance of keeping costs low; this led to failure to provide containers, or for separate collection of salvage and refuse.

  2. (ii) Lack of initiative on the part of the housewife.

  3. (iii) Lack of co-operation on the part of dustmen.

  4. (iv) Material difficulties such as lack of transport, etc.

6. It was found that the advertising medium most remembered by housewives was the wireless. This was the case for all commodities. This is partly explained by a study of the effect of local campaigns; in these, the most effective approach was the personal appeal.

It will be seen that the National Salvage Campaign is the directing force for all local campaigns. It must therefore take into account the attitudes and difficulties of both housewives and salvage officials. It would seem to be of the greatest importance that the local salvage officials be encouraged to surmount local difficulties of finance or personnel, and to frame their local campaigns and organisation with full understanding of the personal difficulties of housewives.

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